Climate change news


Sarah Brylinsky, Cornell's sustainability communications and integration manager, left, speaks Oct. 31 at a panel discussion on how the campus could achieve carbon neutrality by 2035, as KyuJung Whang, vice president for infrastructure, properties and planning, looks on. (Photo: Robert Barker/Cornell Marketing Group)

Panel outlines action for campus carbon neutrality by 2035  [Cornell Chronicle 2016-11-2]  -  With a plan to harness the wind, sun, water and the Earth’s heat, a panel from the Senior Leaders Climate Action Group (SLCAG) explained to the Cornell community Oct. 31 how the campus could become carbon neutral by 2035. They stepped through the financial analysis and feasibility report that was released in October. “We need to heat and power a ‘Research I’ institution, and we are power hungry,” said Lance Collins, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Cornell Engineering and co-chair of SLCAG. He outlined Cornell’s carbon footprint challenges, which include designing a campus heating system that can accommodate Ithaca’s extreme weather conditions. The current low cost of fossil fuel makes it difficult to justify future renewable energy projects, Collins said, but the university aims to reduce campus energy demand and increase the number of high-performance buildings. As for fossil fuel energy sources, he explained, “The goal is to drive this to zero.” Read more.

New model suggests scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere [Cornell Chronicle 2016-10-26] - New Cornell research suggests an economically viable model to scrub carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to thwart runaway, point-of-no-return global warming. The researchers propose using a “bioenergy-biochar system” that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in an environmental pinch, until other removal methods become economically feasible and in regions where other methods are impractical. Their work appeared in the Oct. 21 edition of Nature Communications. Read more.

Colorado River’s dead clams tell tales of carbon emission  [Cornell Chronicle 2016-10-27] - Scientists have begun to account for the topsy-turvy carbon cycle of the Colorado River delta – once a massive green estuary of grassland, marshes and cottonwood, now desiccated dead land. “We’ve done a lot in the United States to alter water systems, to dam them. The river irrigates our crops and makes energy. What we really don’t understand is how our poor water management is affecting other natural systems – in this case, carbon cycling,” said Cornell’s Jansen Smith, a doctoral candidate in earth and atmospheric sciences. Smith is lead author of “Fossil Clam Shells Reveal Unintended Carbon Cycling Consequences of Colorado River Management,” published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, Sept. 28.  Read more.

New video highlights Cornell’s multi-faceted approach to sustainability - From creating to implementing real-world solutions, Cornell University is leading the way toward a more sustainable future.

Category: News & Events

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